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Avoid El-Rufai’s Distraction, Revive Legal Activism, Lawyer Tells NBA

More lawyers have continued to rally against the invitation of Gov. Nasir Elrufai to the Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference 2020, stating that his divisive approach to the unabated killings in Kaduna State, could impact negatively on the gathering.

A Human Rights Lawyer, Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, in a statement described the invitation as a needless distraction, while cautioning “this is not the time for political endorsements and acceptance.”

The statement read:

I woke up this morning to the news that some lawyers are writing to the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association that they will boycott the NBA AGC 2020 should Governor Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai be retained as a speaker in the event. This has generated a lot of controversies and there are several arguments for and against his admittance at the conference. Someone on a social media platform stated that the Governor was invited so he can come and explain the crisis.

Governor Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai does not need the platform of the Nigerian Bar Association to come and explain the crisis happening in Southern Kaduna. As the executive Governor of Kaduna State he has ample platforms to explain, describe and bamboozle the public as he wants to. He has the media such as AIT, STV, Leadership Newspaper, Punch, Guardian, BBC, etc to air his views and give all manner of descriptions he wants. But coming to the AGC? The AGC is not a political conference! It’s a conference where Lawyers should gather and think of the future of the critical state of our democracy and the dying rule of law. We should come together to discuss how judicial activism will help resuscitate due process and the rule of law. Instead we are yet again committing our legal system to the same bash we did when the President of the Country gallantly spoke to a body of Lawyers that he will strangle the rule of law in the name of national security. And has his administration not been true to his words?

This is not the time for political endorsements and acceptance. We must hold Mallam accountable for the theater of murder that has persisted in the State. Let’s call him to order not give him a platform that will be misconstrued by the public who have daily questioned the integrity of the bar. Mallam is responsible for the security of the people of Kaduna. If he is not providing that then it is important that a body of lawyers should not give him a platform for any reason. If he wants to be heard, let him go to the people whom he is elected to represent. Let’s think about the vulnerable women and children who have found themselves in the middle of the crisis in Kaduna and are crying out for help. This is the time for Nigerian lawyers who want the NBA to progress beyond its present camatose state to rise up and lend their voices for the survival of the legal practice, for good governance, rule of law and the protection of human rights.

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